Plans afoot to revolutionise education in Hethersett
- Credit: Archant
Plans are being made to revolutionise schooling in the village of Hethersett.
Norfolk County Council (NCC) is proposing to transform both Hethersett Woodside Infant and Nursery School and Hethersett (Church of England) Voluntary Controlled Junior School into 'full' primary schools catering for pupils in Years 2 to 11.
The council also plans to relocate Woodside to a new site in a residential area in Hethersett's north.
At the moment, children start their education in Year R at the infant school and have to transfer to the junior school after three years.
An NCC spokesperson said: 'This is an opportunity to progress our primary school policy which is to minimise the number of times children change schools. We have agreement from the schools, together with the Diocesan Board of Education, that now is the right time to discuss this with local people.'
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However, some parents have raised concerns that the new system would cause traffic problems around the village.
The NCC spokesman said in response: 'The traffic implications are always an important part of a scheme's design and this is subject to full discussion with local people before it is submitted for planning approval.'
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The earliest the changes could take effect is September 1, 2019.
Reaction from the schools
Matthew Parslow-Williams, the junior school's headteacher, said he was pleased about the opportunity to convert to a primary school.
He said: 'Schooling in this area of Norfolk in terms of pupil numbers is challenging so being able to provide opportunities for families to attend their local school is great.
'We are working closely with all stakeholders, we have a fantastic relationship with Hethersett Woodside Infant School and are looking forward to exciting times ahead.'
Angela Jermy, head of Woodside, and Simon Cooper, chair of the school's board of governors, said in a joint statement: 'We are really proud of our school and the caring and supportive start children have to their school years at Woodside.
'However, our community is growing and we know that the status quo isn't an option for the village.
'That means we need to be able to provide more spaces for local children and we are excited about the opportunity to move to a brand new building on the new estate.
'Our current building has limitations and the move would give our children a state of the art building that could support both infant and junior children, whilst retaining the nurturing ethos of Woodside.
'We would encourage as many parents as possible and other stake holders in the community to get involved with the consultation and give their views on these proposals.'
Parish council's reaction
Jackie Sutton, chairman of Hethersett Parish Council, said she hoped the changes would ease the strain on the village's schools.
She said: 'We would welcome these changes because the growth of Hethersett is putting pressure on the existing school places.
'I'm aware of a parent at one school who is having trouble getting a child in even though there is already a sibling at the school.
'I'm pleased to see the junior school involved as well. We have a lot of young families in Hethersett and many parents are attracted to the village because of the excellent rating of the schools.'
Find out more and have your say
Parents can learn more about the plans at drop-in events on;
-Wednesday, June 21; 6pm–7pm, at Hethersett VC Junior School
-Monday, June 26; 6pm–7pm, at Hethersett Woodside Infant and Nursery School
-Tuesday, July 4; 3.15pm–4.15pm, at Hethersett VC Junior School
Feedback can also be given online at norfolk.citizenspace.com/childrens-services/hethersett